Capability and Incorporation: Pathways to Redress in the Aftermath of Violence

November 11, 2021 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Capability and Incorporation: Pathways to Redress in the Aftermath of Violence | Poulami Roychowdhury

Gender-based violence is a heavily politicized issue in India with diverse organizations supporting women's legal claims. Meanwhile, law enforcement personnel are both sexist and have limited abilities to enforce the law. How do women claim rights within these conditions? How do rights negotiations impact gender inequality, legality, and state authority?

Using participant observation and in-depth interview data, Roychowdhury shows how women are compelled to demonstrate 'capability� when they claim rights against violence. Law enforcement personnel respond favorably to women who mobilize collective threats and do the work of the state themselves, while ignoring women who are meek and docile. They incorporate 'capable� women into regulatory functions, urging them to complete case processing duties, negotiate extra-legal settlements, and deploy violence. The talk urges listeners to reconsider existing theories of law and gender-based violence, arguing that the study of India may house insights for how law enforcement relate to survivors in other parts of the world.

Moderated by Soledad Artiz Prillaman, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University


Poulami Roychowdhury is Assistant Professor of Sociology at McGill University. Her research focuses on politics, law, and gender inequality. She is a qualitative sociologist who conducts long-term ethnographies. Her work has been funded by a number of agencies, including the NSF and Fulbright. And she has published in a range of journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Law & Social Inquiry, Gender & Society, and Signs. Today, she will be talking to us about her recent book, Capable Women, Incapable States: Negotiating Violence and Rights in India. Capable Women, Incapable States was released with Oxford University Press in 2021.


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